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Govt Says No Scope for China in India, Pak Affairs; Rejects Trilateral Meet Proposal

Chinese ambassador Luo Zhaohui had said that “some Indian friends” had suggested to him that China, India and Pakistan may have some kind of trilateral cooperation under the SCO.

Maha Siddiqui | News18.com

Updated:June 18, 2018, 8:50 PM IST
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Govt Says No Scope for China in India, Pak Affairs; Rejects Trilateral Meet Proposal
China's President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Narendra Modi during SCO summit. (File photo: Reuters)

New Delhi: The government has rejected Chinese ambassador Luo Zhaohui’s proposal of a trilateral engagement between India, Pakistan and China, saying that matters related to India-Pakistan relations are purely bilateral in nature and have no scope for involvement of any third country.

"We have seen reports on comments made by the Chinese Ambassador in this matter. We have not received any such suggestion from the Chinese government. We consider the statement as the personal opinion of the Ambassador,” the ministry of external affairs said.

Zhaohui, while addressing the India-China Relations Seminar in Delhi on Monday, had said that “some Indian friends” had suggested to him that China, India and Pakistan may have some kind of trilateral cooperation under the SCO (Shanghai Cooperation Organisation).

He added that if Russia, China and Mongolia could have a trilateral meeting at Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), “why can’t India, Pakistan and China do the same?”

The proposal came at a time when New Delhi and Beijing are looking to strengthen bilateral ties as decided by PM Narendra Modi and China’s Xi Jinping at the Wuhan informal summit in April.

News 18 had reported earlier how China was keen on utilizing the SCO platform to try and improve the relations between India and Pakistan.

The move was clearly aimed at getting India to end its objections to the Belt and Road Initiative. China was hoping India’s objections to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and in turn its opposition to BRI could be managed through the SCO platform.

However, India has made it amply clear that the CPEC “violates India’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.”

Analysts, therefore, were skeptical of China’s proposal. Former diplomat Rajiv Dogra told News18 that it was intriguing why the Chinese Ambassador chose this time and forum to advance the proposal since the SCO summit is a full year ahead.

He said that it was hardly the ideal time to float such a proposal and yet China had done so. He says the point to ponder is “whether it was done after sounding out the two parties?”

The Chinese Ambassador had also alluded to the Doklam stand-off between India and China last year. He said the two countries cannot afford another Doklam.

“India is our immediate neighbour. It’s quite natural to have differences with neighbours. We need to narrow differences through expanding cooperation. However, it does not mean that differences would be ignored.” The Doklam stand-off lasted 73-days and was resolved just ahead of Prime Minister Modi’s visit to Xiamen in China for the BRICS summit last year.

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